When most people think about mold, the first thing that comes to mind is often the bluish-green fuzz that covers food. With these types of mold, the obviousness of their presence tends to make them unappealing. Less evident, however, is mold that grows in structures such as houses and buildings. With that said – whether from bread, the basement, or from behind the walls – exposure to mold can generate allergic reactions and respiratory problems in both susceptible and non-susceptible populations, and is therefore not to be taken lightly.
We take a moment to explore the connection between mold and allergies, how mold causes and exacerbates these allergies, and offer some guidance on mold allergy treatment if exposure has occurred.
Mold and Mold Allergy Symptoms
Mold is a fungus that releases tiny airborne spores. If you have a mold allergy, it means that your body is sensitive to it. Breathing in airborne mold particles may cause your immune system to react. The antibodies consequently produced, including histamines, can induce symptoms such as:
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Runny nose or nasal congestion
- Throat irritation
- Skin rash
Depending on the severity of the exposure and the person exposed, an allergic reaction to mold may happen immediately, or it may be delayed. Signs of mold allergy and their severity will vary from person to person (some people only experience mold allergy symptoms during specific weather conditions). Some molds may only cause allergic reactions during certain seasons, but others, such as black mold, can cause reactions all year round.
Mold, Asthma, and General Allergies
Once you have an allergic reaction to mold, no matter how minor, you may become sensitized to mold spores as an allergen. Long-term exposure can additionally heighten mold sensitivity over time and aggravate existing allergies to other substances. Mold exposure is known to trigger asthma and can cause inflammation and tightness in the respiratory system and mucus in the airways. Additionally, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, respiratory contact with mold or dampness may even cause people to develop asthma.
If you have a history of allergies to mold or are just beginning to experience mold allergy symptoms, you should consider the following in order to have a clean, mold-free atmosphere:
- Avoid damp, dark environments with excessive moisture.
- Use a de-humidifier whenever possible.
- Repair water leaks immediately to prevent mold growth.
- Avoid keeping plants indoors since the soil can contain mold.
- Wear a mask when raking leaves.
Let South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center Help With Your Mold Allergies
Because of its near-fabled humidity, especially during the summer months, South Florida is a prime location for molds to thrive and multiply. That’s why it’s especially important for Floridians to be aware of potential mold allergy symptoms before they manifest to increase the prevention of unwanted exposure, allergies, or asthma attacks.